Seniors craft women’s empowerment organization over summer

Seniors Leslie Barrett, Taylor Rubottom and Shelby Seier are in the process of forging Trinity’s newest organization. The club, not yet named, seeks to empower women and expand upon the body image discussion on campus. Plans began over the summer and a constitution is currently being drafted. Also involved in this effort are students Sara Robertson and Leslie Green.

The inspiration for this organization began with body image programs already in place at Trinity. Passionate about the topic and looking to do more, Barrett thought of an idea called “Makeupless Mondays,” where women on campus would be encouraged to not wear makeup each Monday. Different clubs on campus would share turns sponsoring Mondays.

After Barrett discussed the idea with Seier, the pair took the idea and decided to make it part of a greater effort.

“I loved the idea so much that I pushed to expand the idea to something bigger, something that could spread to the entire community,” Seier said in an email.

Barrett and Seier then reached out to Rubottom, and a plan developed.

A self-described “activist” on the subject, Barrett defines three main goals, all with a common theme: promoting natural beauty among Trinity women.

“We want to create a network of support, break down negative body images often portrayed by the media and to foster a sense of realistic beauty that women should be proud of,” Barrett said.

Members of Gamma Chi Delta, Barrett and Rubottom talked about the body image program they participated in during their orientation period and the positive impact it left. Rubottom calls it a “shame” that this experience was Greek only.

“It is very important for women to have a support system,” Rubottom said. “We want to make girls media smart and for them to see images and not compare it to themselves.”

Rubottom speaks to the common industry practice of altering or retouching images, often in fashion advertisements, and creating the veneer of unrealistic body images. The vast promotion of these images in magazines and advertisements has been linked to triggering eating disorders.

“One of things we would like to do is take an advertisement and point out the flaws,” Rubottom said. “We want to take these ads and make them real.”

In addition to Makeupless Mondays, Barrett looks to explore activities like teaching women to change tires. Makeupless Mondays will begin this upcoming Monday and makeup removal will be provided to those who have forgotten that the event is happening but still wish to participate.

“Frankly I’m a bit nervous about Makeupless Mondays,” said Seier. “I, like practically every other person on the planet, have acne. For 21 years the media has brainwashed me into thinking it is hideous and embarrassing. Our group is trying to defy such widely accepted notions and proudly proclaim that natural is beautiful. Not wearing makeup on one day of the week will help us break the habit to which we’ve grown accustomed.”

Although the organization is geared toward women, Barrett envisions a time where men can become involved.

“Yes, it is definitely important for guys to understand the impact they can have on women,” said Barrett. “We’d welcome any guy who wants to help women feel beautiful.”

Despite an indefinite founding date, Barrett is optimistic about the organization and the development of the social media presence.

Barrett, who recently wrote an article for the Trinitonian about her experience with Bell’s Palsy, says it is comedic timing that the founding of the organization happened around the same time as her partial facial paralysis.

“If I have learned to feel beautiful with a paralyzed face, I have faith that others can learn to see beauty in their imperfections as well,” Barrett said. “It is a matter of looking past the superficial concept of beauty many of us hold and seeing who you are, not necessarily what you look like. Inner beauty outshines any physical imperfection.That’s one of the things we want to help others do.”